Former employee claims CBIZ Benefits discriminated against her because of race and age

By William Sassani | Jul 21, 2018

KANSAS CITY — A former employee has filed an age and race discrimination lawsuit against CBIZ Benefits and Insurance Services. 

In the suit, filed in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Cynthia M. Mitchell alleges that CBIZ violated federal anti-discrimination laws and fired her from her job at the company as a commission accounting clerk because she reported inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Mitchell, who is African-American and 55 years old, alleges that she reported to her supervisor, Debbie Kincaide, racially charged comments made by another employee. She also felt that she was being treated differently because of her race at the company.

Upon hearing Mitchell’s report, Kincaide is alleged to have said, “you’re not going to use the race card on me.” Mitchell reported these comments to company management and was directed to the firm’s employee assistance program through St. Luke’s for required counseling. 

She later reported more offensive statements by other employees referring to herself and African-Americans in general. For instance, she alleges that she was referred to as “Bubbly” by her coworkers, who asked what the color of her urine was. She alleges she was asked about her breast size. Additionally, Mitchell alleges company employees made offensive references about slavery and African-Americans. 

Mitchell alleges that because of her complaints management disciplined her and also gave her a final warning. She alleges that her 2017 annual evaluation was performed in the human resources department, which differed from other employees. She asked to review her employee file, but claims she was told she could not though other coworkers could access their files. 

Mitchell made another complaint to her human resources department about the hostile work environment at the company. She was fired from her job in August 2017. 

As part of the lawsuit, Mitchell is seeking damages against CBIZ, including those for lost wages, benefits, expense, as well as punitive damages for emotional distress.

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